Whirly Girl 530

Amelia Earhart meets Indian Jones in Real Life

By Rosemarie McRae

Whirly Girl 530
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Whirly Girl 530 $25.95

Rosemarie McRae takes you on the ride of your life – so fasten your seatbelts and be prepared to be whisked to the heights of adventure, hardship, and triumph!

From the first time she saw a Fokker Friendship land in a remote outback town of northern Australia, Rosemarie knew she was going to be a pilot. But before her dream could take flight, the Air Force rejected her because she was a woman, she suffered the horror of miscarrying her third child in a shower (alone in the remote outback of Australia) and she was cut off from the outside world during a rainy season in the tropics with stink beetles eating her only meat supply.

Rosemarie has won several heroism awards, flown movie stars, gold prospectors, and even the Aga Khan. She's lived in remote parts of the world where she had to share her bed with cockroaches and rats. She's survived a back-breaking journey across thousands of miles with her two young daughters, fought against discrimination, abuse, dust storms and cyclones, to become one of the most respected pilots in history.

Rosemarie is a member of the professional international body of women helicopter pilots known as “The Whirly Girls,” and her membership number is 530. She is also a member of The Ninety-Nines, the international body of women pilots, and is vice president of the Helicopter Association of Australasia.


‘Off we went again, to Thursday Island this time. "Reef Helicopters this is Alpha Hotel Sierra, can you guide us to your Helipad?"

Surprise, surprise a female voice guided us in and was there to greet us after we landed. Rose McRae, who was the Chief Pilot for Reef Helicopters, directed us to our landing spot, then took us to the Jardine Hotel where we had made arrangements to stay. That evening as we dined with Rose she described some of the work that she was involved in. Search and rescue, medivac, doctor delivery to the islands, ferrying pilots to and from the ships of the Torres Straits.

This was sometimes a very difficult job and one which she and her team handled very well. Recently, she had been awarded a medal for bravery after she rescued some natives from a wild sea in extremely dangerous conditions. Apparently they were in a ‘tinny’ when the engine broke down. She pushed them onto some rocks with the down draft from her helicopter, then picked them up from off the rocks. What a gutsy woman, I doubt if I would have attempted that.

The next day we flew around the inner islands in the Robinson, then in the afternoon, Rose took us along for the ride when she ferried the doctor between some of the outer islands. She was an excellent pilot - I was very impressed, smooth flying with a couple of very smooth landings on the edge of some small villages.

While I was talking with Bill only the other day, he reminded me of how I told him the story of the body passing wind while I was transporting it back to Thursday Island.

It really did demonstrate to me just some of the truly bizarre things that have occurred in my life.